With just a couple of minutes running time, or sometimes after ten or fifteen minutes or so , the air compressor reset button always trips on my air compressor.

If this is your compressor problem here are a few things to look for and perhaps fix if your compressor reset button always trips.

First off, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page and what we are talking about when we are speaking of the compressor reset button.

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Air Compressor Trips Reset Button

You might know it as the thermal cut out or thermal safety switch. Others know it as the reset button. You can see one of them on the end of the electric motor in the image below.


It may be a small red button on the shroud of the compressor, it may be a button on the end of the motor if that is visible on your compressor, and I have seen them on the side of the motor at the shaft end, on some compressor motors.

Some are inside of the wiring cover on the motor, others are an inline switch on the wiring. The locations of this important piece of equipment on the air compressor sure do vary.

Regardless of where the compressor thermal reset button is on your compressor – on the motor or on the shroud of the compressor – its purpose is to cut the power to the motor in the event that the motor itself gets too hot.

Without the air compressor thermal overload switch, if there were a condition in the motor that was causing it to get hot, eventually the heat itself would destroy the compressor motor.

If the compressor reset button always trips on your compressor, the motor is getting too hot and you may need a replacement. For information on How to buy a compressor motor reset switch please visit our guide!

Why A Compressor Reset Button Always Trips

There are a few reasons as to why your reset button may be tripping on your air compressor and these are:

  • The power supply
  • Compressor runs too long
  • Centrifugal switch

The Power Supply

Check to make sure that your air compressor is plugged right into the wall socket, and it is not being powered through an extension cord or power bar. Reason being is that the wire in the extension or power bar may not be large enough to allow the flow of power that the compressor motor needs.

The power cord of the compressor is sized to allow sufficient power to the compressor motor. Restricting it through a smaller wire will cause the motor to over heat. If the motor overheats, the thermal cut out will shut it down. This is a very common issue.

Compressor Runs Too Long

If you are using your air compressor for extended periods, more than, say, ten or fifteen minutes at a time, the typicaly DIY air compressor will overheat. The duty cycle of the compressor may be less than the time you are requiring it to run, and the motor will overheat. If you think this is happening to your air compressor, try only running it for ten minutes and then letting it sit for at least that time so the motor can cool, before firing it up again.

Older air compressors – and some not so old if the compressor has tipped over for some reason – can develop a tank check valve leak. If that happens, air will be bleeding out of the tank all the time, even when the compressor is running. If that is happening on your air compressor, it will take much longer for the tank to fill – if it ever does – to cut out, and the by product of that is a motor that overheats.

See the troubleshooting pages on this site about how to fix a leaking tank check valve.

If your air compressor has or is developing a mechanical issue – perhaps a weakened or broken intake or pressure valve or a blown gasket in the pump, the compressor may have to run much longer than normal to fill the tank to cut out.

It may run so long that the motor will shut down on thermal cutout before the tank is full. If you air compressor seems to be undergoing this scenario, it may be time to add a valve and gasket kit. The troubleshooting pages hyperlinked on this page address these issues.

Centrifugal Switches?

Our thanks to Waite Mccormick for providing the following information on centrifugal switches and their role in thermal overload:

Another issue, the  centrifugal switch can stick which will keep the start windings energized tripping the thermal switch within 30 sec.

centrifugal switch
Centrifugal switch
Photo: Amazon.com

That centrifugal switch is kinda like 1st gear sorta speaking, and when motor get almost 3/4 of its design r.p.m., it shifts the motor windings to the run windings , kinda like running drive gear. I’ll spare you from the more complicated answer… the start windings are much smaller and can’t withstand the heat (of running full rpm) and results in the kicking of your thermal overload.

Air Compressor Reset Button Fix Demonstration

I have picked out the below video as a useful demonstration of how to fix your air compressor reset button.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Why does my compressor keep tripping out?

It is likely that your compressor is tripping due to your power supply not being large enough to power the compressor or the compressor is overheating from working for too long and so the reset button trips.

Where is the reset button on my compressor?

The reset button can be located on the motor or the shroud of the compressor, it typically depends on the make and model of your compressor.

Where is the reset button on a air compressor?

It really does depend on the make and model of the compressor. Some compressors will have their reset buttons wired into the motor, whilst others are located at the end of the compressor.

Do air compressors have a reset button?

Reset buttons, or otherwise known as thermal switches or thermal reset buttons are important parts of air compressors as they ensure that air compressors do not overheat to prevent damage to parts and the overall system.

How do you reset an air compressor?

Look for the reset switch, typically a small red or black button near the side of the motor near the power cord and click this. The location will vary depending on the make and model.

Why do I have to keep resetting my air compressor?

The sole purpose of resetting your air compressor is because it is getting too hot. Therefore it cuts power to the compressor to ensure that it doesn’t overheat any further and subsequently preventing damage occurring.

Existing Reader Reset Button Tripping Problems and Responses

Here are a number of existing reader problems and helpful responses to reset button problems with various brands of air compressors:

Makita MAC5200 reset button keeps tripping

Kobalt Compressor tripping reset

Central Pneumatic air compressor keeps popping reset

Central Pneumatic 67847 compressor only runs for a few seconds

Central Pneumatic model 61454 overload

Champion compressor runs only when you hold the RESET button

Reset button on DeWalt D55168?

If you have any questions regarding air compressor reset buttons then please leave a comment with a photo if applicable so that someone can help you!